Guðni Elísson

Guðni Elísson is a Professor of Comparative literature at the University of Iceland. Guðni has specialized in analyzing the climate debate for over twenty years and had devoted himself to the subject long before it entered the mainstream debate. He has conducted numerous interviews in radio, television and newspapers and his public and closed lectures on the subject since 2007 are approaching one hundred.
Guðni has written two books and over fifty articles about literature, film, culture and environmental issues. For more than a decade he has taught a number of courses about climate changes, on both BA- and MA-levels, at The University of Iceland, Iceland University of the arts and the University Centre of the Westfjords, and guided numerous essays on climate issues in a wide context. Many of his former students have become leaders in the climate debate in Iceland and because of his collaboration with various artists, the climate debate has moved into fiction, films and theater, and he has been a consultant for authors and directors for a long time. Guðni has edited over twenty books, including a special journal on humanities and climate issues (Ritið 1/2016), with peer-reviewed articles about climate change. Guðni has also encouraged eight Icelandic poets (including Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, Anton Helgi Jónsson, Sjón and Gerður Kristný) to write poems on the subject. He has translated climate-related poems by two American poets and written a theoretical introduction both to the translations and to the poems of the Icelandic poets. This was a great newcomer just four years ago and shows how much the debate on climate issues has changed in a short time.
Guðni is particularly interested in the denial debate and how the so-called Think Tanks have influenced the environmental debate in the modern Western societies during the last 25 years and has written many academic articles about climate change and environmental issues. In 2012, Guðni decided that a more suitable way of communicating the reality of climate change to the public, would be to move from the peer-reviewed forum to a broader disclosure and after some preparation he founded the Earth101 website in 2013. The web is both an informational site and a forum for academics to present their research.
Guðni is of the opinion that it is not possible to spread the reality of climate change without the understanding also appears in the personal life and in carbon emissions of those working in the field. In 1999, he sat himself a goal of limiting his air travel on average to only one trip a year including work trips. This has meant that over the past twenty years he has flown less than twenty times, yet it has made international cooperation more difficult, especially in an environment where university professors are among the largest carbon emitters, many of whom fly ten to twenty times a year.